Space Jam: A New Legacy and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros
Directed by Malcolm D Lee
Nostalgia is a heck of a drug, isn’t it? The original Space Jam is certainly a fondly remembered time capsule and it has some highlights to it like its strong animation and some bizarre asides that gave it a bit of flavor despite being such an obvious marketing tool. It’s been over twenty years though and what worked for us back then may not capture the imagination of the “Youth” today, and frankly I couldn’t tell you if any of them have seen or even HEARD of that first movie unless it was shoved on them by their Millennial parents. It seems the question that this movie seeks to answer (along with how to make your budget back with a simultaneous streaming and theater release) is whether you can both reheat old nostalgia while giving something new for next generation to attach themselves to. Does this succeed in giving us the best of both worlds, or will spreading itself too thin leave nobody happy? Let’s find out!!
LeBron James may be a worldwide superstar and really good basketball player, but his parenting skills leave something to be desired as his son Dom (Cedric Joe) isn’t really into basketball despite his dad insisting that he go to Basketball Camp this summer. He’d much rather go to Video Game Camp which I think is what people started calling Computer Camp to trick youngsters into going, but he’s worried about telling his dad that he’d rather make games than play ball. While all this tension is in the air, Warner Bros has called LeBron James over so that their algorithm named Al-G-Rhythm (Don Cheadle) can pitch… some sort of multimedia deal? LeBron seems as confused as I am so he turns it down which OF COURSE makes good ol’ Al go full on Skynet and kidnap him and his son, and drag them both into cyberspace. Since Al-G-Rhythm is a WB program, I guess he’s aware of what a success the original Space Jam movie was and so challenges him to a basketball game while he mentors Dom and nourishes his desire to make video games. It’s up to LeBron to find the most suitable characters owned by WB to join his basketball team, or failing that the Looney Tunes characters led by Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman), and get his son back by winning a game of basketball! Can LeBron bring the Toons back together who’ve long been separated while also bridging the gap between him and his son? What is Al-G-Rhythm’s plans for Dom once he’s done making his game, and will it spell doom for his family? Wait, why do they call it Space Jam when no one in this is from Space? Shouldn’t it be Cyber Jam?
Sorry to Bother You and all the images you see in this review are owned by Annapurna Pictures
Directed by Boots Riley
This is a great time of year because once the summer blockbuster season starts to wind down we start to get some really great stuff from the indie scene right before the Prestige Films and the Oscar Bait start to take over the multiplex. Sure, August is normally considered a dumping ground for mediocre movies (I’m wary about Slenderman to say the least) but that’s more to do with the BIG releases rather than the harder to find stuff in the fancier theaters which is pretty much exactly what we have here today as I had to make a bit of a drive to catch this on the big screen. Now I’ve been keeping my eye on this film since the trailers started to pop up due to its interesting style and oddly relatable premise, at least from what they were selling us on, and most importantly I could really use something other than super hero flicks and The Rock to fill out my GOOD MOVIES list for this year! Does this bizarre little story manage to be just as good as I hoped it would be, or was I just too eager to find something new that there was no way it would live up to my expectations? Wouldn’t be the first time this year (*cough* Thoroughbreds *cough*)! Anyway, let’s find out!!
Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is a man just trying to survive day by day and constantly wondering if anything he does will ultimately matter in the grand scheme of things. After all, once he dies and his theoretical children die and then THEIR theoretical children die, will there be ANYONE left to remember him or the fact that he just barely managed to get a job working as a telemarketer? His girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) thinks he’s worrying too much about all that and she’s content to work on her art projects in between gigs as a sign flipper, but with the world slowly going to hell in a handbasket (a new company called WorryFree is basically reintroducing slavery by praying on the impoverished) it all just seems pointless unless he can REALLY start to make some money and find what it is that he’s good at. As it turns out though, he has a knack for this telemarketing thing once he finds his “white voice” (David Cross) and is on the fast track to being a POWER CALLER which is basically doing the same thing only for more money and selling stuff other than encyclopedias. However, his rise to the top has some roadblocks along the way as his fellow workers are staging a strike just as he’s about to make it as a POWER CALLER, and said promotion doesn’t come without its own problems and indignities that slowly start to tear at Cassius’s soul and creates a divide between him and Detroit. Throw in some colorful characters like Squeeze the leader of the telemarketer’s strike (Steven Yeun), Steve Lift the CEO of WorryFree (Armie Hammer) who’s about as big of a douche bag as you’d imagine, and the mysterious Mr. ******* (Omari Hardwick) who represents the future that Cassius has waiting for him if he sticks it out at his new job for just a little bit longer. Can Cassius find a way to use his talents for massive financial gain without losing his soul in the process? Just what is WorryFree up to, and how does it connect to this Telemarketing Company as well as Cassius himself? Is there like a hotline I can call that’ll explain this movie to me, because I feel like I STILL don’t have a clear grasp on what the heck was going on!
Unforgettable and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros
Directed by Denise Di Novi
A lot of people seem to enjoy this recent upswing in Steamy Thrillers, but while I can certainly see the appeal of them in a trashy sort of way (more so When the Bough Breaks than The Perfect Guy), they always seem to have an element in the story or a fundamental conceit that rubbed me the wrong way. This new entry into the genre looks to have the same issues while also having the unfortunate drawback of no Morris Chestnut, but the casting is interesting to say the say least so maybe there’s something to this. Can this rise above its trashy peers to be the ULTIMATE trash film, or is it trashy in the less fun sense of the word? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) who just moved in with her boyfriend and soon to be husband David Connover (Geoff Stults) which seems like a dream come true and is the perfect opportunity for her to put her past behind her which involves some shit headed abuser named Michael (Simon Kassianides) who is now VERY far away considering she’s now on the other side of the country. Of course, her good luck doesn’t last for long as she’s now caught in the cross hairs of Tessa Connover (Katherine Heigl) who’s David’s ex-wife and is none too happy about it; particularly when it comes to her daughter Lilly (Isabella Rice) who now has to spend time with Daddy’s Girlfriend. Tessa, the controlling and vindictive person that she is, makes it her mission to not only get Julia out of the picture as quickly as possible, but to do it in the most crew and vindictive ways possible and to worm her way back into David’s arms in the process. Just how far will Tessa go in her quest for vengeance, and will Julia be able to withstand the pressure? Will David come to Julia’s aid when the heat gets turned up, or will he buckle under the circumstantial evidence that Tessa piles up against her? Was this some sort of long lost sequel to Fatal Attraction that was shelved twenty years ago!? It certainly FEELS that dated!!
The Lego Batman Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Chris McKay
Let’s see… you take something awesome like The LEGO Movie, and you add more Will Arnett. How could this POSSIBLY fail!? I mean granted, adding Will Arnett to ANYTHING is an automatic improvement (unless it’s Bojack Horseman), but considering what we’ve gotten from the DC canon since Nolan’s second movie, how could we NOT be excited when one of those movies isn’t fraught with astounding mismanagement and crushing solemnity!? Does this offshoot of The LEGO movie prove to be a success while laying the groundwork for other LEGO based offshoots, or has Warner Bros utter mismanagement of the DC licenses somehow managed to spread to this colorful and vibrant take on the characters? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about Batman being Batman and everyone getting really sick about it, and I can certainly relate to that. More specifically, Batman (Will Arnett) has just locked away a whole bunch of villains for what has to be the millionth time, but something’s a little bit different. While The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) managed to escape like he usually does, Batman managed to hurt his feelings by claiming he’s NOT his arch-enemy, so now he’s got a NEW axe to grind with the caped crusader. On top of that, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) has just become the new commissioner and is somewhat skeptical about letting some sociopath with silly ears and a cape beating up poor people and other weirdos in the streets of Gotham which makes SENSE but isn’t all that comforting to Batman who’s already having enough trouble finding things to do in what little spare time he has NOW; let alone how much he’d have if the police department started doing their jobs right under Barbara’s new rule. To cap things off, he JUST SO HAPPENS to adopt a young boy named Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) which you’d THINK would require just a LITTLE bit of paperwork, but I guess the Orphanage could use the extra bed; especially considering how many kids they have to take in considering how many supervillains are blowing shit up around the city. ANYWAY! Batman, who’s been avoiding his feelings all this time by punching baddies in the face now has to deal with that one thing we all fear… CHANGE! Will he be able to keep his cool now that the status quo has been upended? Just what does The Joker have planned now that he’s even MORE pissed at Batman than usual? Is it too soon to reboot the DC films and just make them all based on toys?
Ratchet & Clank and all the images you see in this review are owned by Gramercy Pictures and Focus Features
Directed by Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe
Well THIS certainly is a unique specimen! I mean… it IS for another two weeks until Angry Birds comes out (ugh). What we have here is the first CG animated film that has gotten a wide release in US theaters! You’d think SOMEONE would have thought to do this by now considering how many of the pre-generation seven game heroes were aimed at children and some variation of a loveable animal character. While Uwe Bowl was fucking around with Alone in the Dark and Postal, no one was willing to give Sonic the Hedgehog or Megaman a shot? Well that all ends HERE with this movie based on the iconic video game series AND the added bonus of Insomniac games being a part of the production to make sure it’s done justice! Do they succeed in making the first CG animated video game movie, or is this one big glorified cut scene that wouldn’t have passed muster in 2002? Let’s find out!!
The movie is all about Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor); a cat like creature who lives a Tatooine knock off and spends his time poorly repairing hovercrafts by adding (presumably illegal) modifications that no one asked for and no one would find useful. Oh well, at least he has heart, and dreams, and… probably other stuff too that the movie doesn’t really get into. He’s THE HERO’S JOURNEY writ large and he’s got a call to action lined up for him! Apparently some bad guys are blowing up planets for reasons (probably because their dicks) and so the team that defends the WHOLE galaxy has decided to increase their ranks from four… to FIVE!! Okay… well the group, known as the Galactic Rangers, are holding tryouts to find this fifth member (there isn’t already a training program or an academy or something?) which Ratchet participates in, but fails miserably; probably due to his extensive arrest record. Things may look grim for Ratchet who’s still stuck on this dirt planet, but salvation arrives in the form of a little robot who crash lands near the garage Ratchet works at, and he rushes to save him! The little robot seems to know something about the villain’s evil plan and must get to the Galactic Rangers to warn them. Ratchet agrees to help, gives the little guy the name Clank (David Kaye), and they’re off to save the Rangers and the Galaxy as they know it! Can they manage to stop the bad guys from blowing up the rest of the galaxy? Will the Galactic Rangers accept them as one of their own? Did… did anyone actually sit down to watch this before shoving it into theaters?